Gun Control

So there’s obviously been a lot of debate over the last few days about the issue of Gun Control.

I grew up and still live in the UK in which we have strict gun control laws. To this day I don’t even know how I would go about getting a gun. I don’t know who I’d have to ask, what permits to have, what checks would be needed, etc. I don’t know anything about owning a gun because it’s so damn difficult to get one. I’m talking about basic guns too, we’re not even talking about Assault Rifles (which are the ones used in school shootings), which are totally illegal in this country because, as is common sense, no civilian needs an assault rifle. There’s just no need for it. Yet I know for a fact you can walk into most places in America and purchase a gun, and not even just a basic one, a semi-automatic weapon.

There’s been some rather horrific points made in opposition to upping gun control in the US. The first one I want to address comes from Tomi Lahren who tweeted “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic. ” So I understand there’s a grieving progress and you do have to respect it, but grief doesn’t get in the way of law. Just because somebody is grieving, doesn’t mean you can’t debate the issue (as you clearly don’t mind doing). Also, there are kids that were in the classrooms, that lost their friends and families, who have taken to Twitter to tell you to reconsider your gun laws. This could have been such a nice sentiment too, you could have come across as a real caring person, had you not used words such as “push their…agenda” which just makes your statement inflammatory and undermines your “care” for the families.

Senator Marco Rubio said “I’m trying to be clear and honest here, someone who has decided to commit this crime, they will find a way to get the gun to do it.” This takes me back to something my dad said to me when I was growing up. My dad used to say that if you’re going to be burgled then they’ll find a way inside the house. This doesn’t mean we left the doors and windows open for them to make it easier though. Without gun control your idea of buying firearms is like leaving a door open for a burglar to break in.

I want to step into something personal here because I wouldn’t be alive today if the UK didn’t have such strict gun laws. In my suicidal times I have thought about how I’d end my life and the easiest way for me to do it would be taking a gun to my head. It’s not a nice thought but we have to admit these things before we can get over them. But yes, if I were an American citizen then in my darkest hours I would have gone out, bought a gun and ended everything. The fact of the matter is that you can’t do it over here. If you’re having a dark time then you can’t wander out and get a gun within the hour, you’d have to wait weeks or even months, by which time the feelings you were having have had a chance to pass. And so no, if people do want to do things like this, it doesn’t mean they will definitely find a way to get a gun.

Tomi Lahren believes “This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.” You’re half right. It’s about both. But let’s look at the “lunatic”, which then enters us into a mental health discussion. If we want to help people like this, trying to help them not commit these crimes, then we have to address the issues as to why this happens. We can look at things like bullying, mental illness, drugs, alcohol, etc because yes, all of these things can play a part in why a person does something. But there’s one factor that every school shooting has in common; it’s done because these people can EASILY get guns. Helping the mentally ill would be increasing checks and restricting the ability to own guns. Even if we just cut out the assault rifles (so I’m not taking away precious gun ownership entirely), you would see a decrease in the number of school shootings and the number of fatalities in these incidents.

I also don’t get the Right Wing desire towards owning a gun. If you ask them why they need to own a gun they usually say protection, although that doesn’t really cover it (there’s plenty of other forms of protection you can have legally). What it really boils down to is the idea that you want to be in control. You want to have that gun because it makes you feel good and it gives you that rush because you control whether somebody else lives or dies. It is, in essence, the real reason people own high powered and military grade weaponry, it makes them feel bigger than they are.

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Valentines Day

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I have posted this gif three times to my Twitter already; twice in updates and then once in a reply comment to somebody. Now I began to wonder if I was posting it a bit too much but then I realised that three times is nothing compared to how many times this feeling hits me, especially over the Valentines Day period.

Valentines Day has me confused a lot of the time because it’s not the single day in the year where I feel the most alone. That award probably goes to Christmas Day or New Years Eve just because the concentration of feelings are limited to one single day and that’s usually when we’re all gathered as a family and I feel completely single (true fact, I’m the only single person in my family over the age of 5). Valentines Day doesn’t do that, it doesn’t congregate a family together and make you concentrate all of those feelings into one single day. No, instead you get to feel miserable and single over a couple of days when you see people buying flowers and chocolates and updating their Facebook and Twitter Status’s and the like, it’s less like Christmas where you feel you’re fighting one battle and instead you feel like you’re fighting a war everyday.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to hate on Valentines Day because I know that if I had a boyfriend I’d do something sweet for Valentines Day and I’d actually buy into the commercial stuff, just because I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart. So I won’t slate it for being commercialised and overpriced (despite the fact that it completely is).

I found myself this morning wishing that Valentines Day was a holiday because I didn’t want to have to get out of bed and go into work. I don’t want to hear about other people’s plans for Valentines Day and I certainly don’t want other people pitying me for having to work on Valentines Day evening. Yeah, I have the evening shift so I’m expecting a lot of patronising “Valentines Day is overrated anyway” or “It’s sad they make you work tonight of all nights”. I struggle as well because I don’t really know what I want somebody to say to me either, I can’t think of a lot of things that would make it easier.

My relationship with Valentines Day, as most things do, stems back to when I was a kid. A big deal isn’t really made of the day when you’re in junior school or below, it’s only when you hit Secondary school (High School) that it suddenly becomes a thing. Before that you’re expected to make cards for your mum and obviously it’s close to Mother’s Day so sometimes schools choose that instead. But I remember quite vividly having to go to school one Valentines Day when everybody was walking around with single red roses or bouquets of flowers and chocolates and just all the usual stuff. And now yes, that’s a nice gesture, but it also compounds the fact that I’m single.

Valentines Day provides a boat-load of depression gunpowder stored up inside my head all primed and ready to be lit. That’s a dangerous situation to be in because I don’t know what the spark will be that will inevitably set me exploding. Some days it’s a simple red rose that I don’t get, sometimes it’s seeing happy couples on Facebook, who the hell knows? But I do know what somebody else will consider a nice gesture will seem to me like the end of the world at some point today. And I don’t know how to not feel like that, this is a feeling that’s been instilled in me every year since I was born and so it’s not like I can just go “oh, that’s nice” and brush it aside like I could most days of the year. Valentines Day (and the lead up to it) is a constant barrage of reminders that you’re alone. Just imagine every time somebody bought flowers or chocolates for Valentines Day that you are slapped around the face. A couple of times you could probably brush off and forget about but when you feel like you’ve been slapped a couple of hundred times then it becomes difficult to stomach anything more than crawling into bed and crying until the day is over.

I also struggle with Valentines Day because it’s supposed to be the day that you can tell people you love them without any sort of judgement or repercussions. Well, if you’ve read my previous post then you know nothing goes without repercussions. As such there are guys I really want to confess my feelings for but I’m scared. I’m scared because history has shown me I’ll either be greeted with disdain, ignored or deemed “psycho” (all of which has happened). So Valentines Day to me is another day when I have so much emotion inside of me, so many feelings I want to tell people, but can’t out of complete and utter fear.

My Queer Eye Profile

I have spent the last two days binge watching the newest season of Queer Eye. One of the things I love is that since the original they have dropped the “For The Straight Guy” from the title because now it’s about makeovers and not about the gay/straight divide. There’s still some issues to be explored but it doesn’t primarily focus on that anymore, it’s now about helping people more than anything.

The main thing I like is how they break a life down into five categories and a specialist comes in to help you fix that aspect of your life, or at least teaches you how to maintain it.

In this post I am going to try and construct a Queer Eye Profile for myself.

Basics

Age – 27

Height – 6’2

Weight – 216 lbs

Design

I still live with my parents where I have a single room that has never been decorated since I moved in. It has beige walls with a beige carpet and the only thing design aspect I put my opinion into are the numerous black cabinets stocked full of movies and books. I spend 90% of my time in one single corner of my room where the computer is and it’s only two foot away from where my bed is, making it easy to roll out of bed and just sit on the computer all day. It’s not a bachelor pad, it’s not an elegantly designed room, it always just feels like it’s unfinished and in the middle of change. I also have my own bathroom, although the bath doesn’t work and it doesn’t have a shower so I have to use the one over my parents side of the house which is rather inconvenient at times.

Food

I can’t remember a time when I have actually cooked a meal. My parents prepare dinner for me all the time and when I’m going to be at work in the evening then I just usually have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Even at University I lived on SuperNoodles and pasta but nothing fancy, just pasta in a bowl with some barbecue sauce and cheese. I’m very fussy when it comes to food and textures so my diet fluctuates between diet shakes and porridge to pizza and chips. The food is usually beige and has often been described as “kids food” because it’s processed and unhealthy. Don’t even get me started on vegetables. Yuck. I eat a lot of sweets as well, because I have a huge sweet-tooth. So on the times when I’m not trying to diet and lose weight I can munch through dozens of packets of sweets without even noticing I’m doing it.

Grooming

By far probably the easiest to describe because it’s virtually non-existent. I spend less than a minute on my appearance when I’m going out and if I’m not leaving the house then all I do is brush my hair and not care how awful it looks. My hair regime consists of sticking my head under some water and then brushing it across so I have the hairstyle of a 1920s gangster, or Hitler. I lock it in place with a huge amount of hairspray so it doesn’t move. I’ve been at a loss with what to do with my hair since I cut it short (having used to have shoulder length hair which everybody hated) and I’m still undecided as to whether I want it long or short. I shave once a week and only because I have to go to work, if I have time off work then I just don’t shave until I have to go back and I end up looking homeless.

Wardrobe

At this moment, typing this, I do not currently own a wardrobe. I own a sort of display stand with sections for different types of clothes although I pretty much wear the same things day-in and day-out. I’ve only ever bought a handful of my clothes with 99% of my stuff having been bought by my mother or being gifts for Christmas or Birthdays. A lot of my clothes are black and I’m not a huge lover of colour just because I feel it draws attention to me and I’m not prepared for that. I hate shopping for clothes because I hate being on the larger side of things and it always makes me depressed, plus my mother has instilled the idea that spending more than £3 on a t-shirt is a horrific waste of money.

I have basically no self-style. And I live in tracksuit bottoms when I’m at home or my one pair of jeans when I leave the house.

Culture

I’ve never been in a relationship. I’m on numerous dating websites and stuff but I lack the self-confidence to send any messages to guys I match with or like. I have a slight distrust of the LGBT community because I had a drastically bad experience with the society at University and since then I’ve distanced myself from the crowd. I also consider myself “too old” for the whole “gay scene” and don’t know where else to find love.

I also suffer with depression and anxiety (stemming from a lot of things such as body image issues and bullying) and so I work a dead-end job in retail, fifteen hours a week, four days a week, and end up hating myself because I’m not following my dream of journalism. I enjoy raising awareness of mental health issues and mental health is a huge part of my life because it’s affected me so much, I just haven’t found a platform for myself yet. I tried YouTube but my self-confidence doesn’t always get on well with YouTube, especially when I don’t get the view count I want. As such I sort of stick to just this blog.

The anxiety and depression also leads me to practically never leaving the house. I go to work and the gym once a week (sometimes) but apart from that I basically never go outside. I have practically zero friends (I have colleagues and acquaintances, but nobody I know socially on a regular basis).

Mental Health vs Physical Health

I’m currently fighting a struggle between my mental health and my physical health.

My physical health was going well, I was a member of a gym and going twice a week with personal training sessions and I was slowly losing weight. That is until September last year when I was quite seriously ill. I’ve not been given a medical name for it but basically I spent eight hours lying on a sofa because I couldn’t move without throwing up, I was permanently dizzy with intense headaches, could barely walk in a straight line and wasn’t allowed to drive anywhere (apart from not being able to move for fear of throwing up or driving, the rest of the physical ailments continue to this day). So yeah, I had to stop going to the gym at that time because physically I couldn’t do anything. Up until recently I haven’t even been able to do more than fifteen minutes fast walking without getting intense dizziness and spending the rest of the day feeling like I’m about to throw up.

But today I mustered up the courage and went in for a personal training session. I can only do, like, 25% of what I used to be able to do. The weight I lift has had to be dropped intensely and I struggle to do the larger sets of reps. All in all, when I finish at the gym, I feel sick, dizzy, worn out and miserable because I feel like I’ve failed due to the fact that I can’t do anywhere close to my previous sessions. (The intense dizziness is what stops me doing high weights and reps, when the room starts spinning then I have to stop, not just a lack of motivation or effort). So this isn’t exactly good for my mental health, given the limited activity I can do and the amount that a personal trainer plus a gym membership costs, it all seems like a waste of money.

So I’ve also been trying to diet. My diet a few years ago was awful with very little fruit and very little vegetables. Well that has changed and my current diet is the Slim Fast diet which means I have two shakes a day and then my evening meal at night (Unless I’m working, in which case it becomes two shakes a day and lunchtime meal). My snacks in the between times are apples, bananas and raisins. That is my complete food intake. The only problem with this? It seems to counteract the antidepressants I’m on and work to make my mood lower than it should be.

My mood has become so paralysingly low that I actually can’t do anything anymore. I don’t write stories (something which I used to really enjoy), I don’t make videos, I don’t do anything because my mood is always just that one level above rock bottom. And so I’ve sort of come to an impasse.

I don’t know whether continuing at the gym is worth it because my physical health isn’t up to scratch and the expenditure really hinders my mental health. But, quitting the gym means that I will sit at home and eat chocolate and sweets which, in the short term, will improve my mood but, in the long term, will lead to bigger body image issues and continued mental health problems. Now I know people will say “why not just leave the gym and diet?” which, as I’ve said, also leaves me with a huge mental illness problem.

I don’t know what to do any more. I’m stuck for a solution because I’m massively unhappy with my weight but weight loss seems to mean my physical and mental health fight against each other and it leaves me a nervous wreck in the middle of everything. I feel like I’m doomed to lead a miserable life, whatever the choice may be. On one hand I may be more productive but I’ll be massively overweight and completely unhappy with my body, but on the other hand I’ll be working myself basically to death just to achieve weight loss that I can’t guarantee will bring me happiness anyway.

It’s Not What You Know

Donald Trump set up his “empire” starting with just a “small loan of one million dollars” from his father. If this isn’t just the pinnacle of nepotism then I don’t know what is. Firstly, if you think one million dollars is a small loan then you’re jaded and misguided and you have no right to talk about money as if you’re self-made. Secondly, if your family can afford to lend you one million dollars then you’re not exactly going to struggle in life as it is.

It’s this idea of nepotism that, on occasions, really has me exceptionally depressed.

The problem I have with nepotism is that it affords luxuries and experiences that other people can only dream of. If my father were CEO of a company then I’d be able to learn on the job when he ultimately appointed me a position within said company. It’s not a privilege that people like me get, we don’t get that sort of experience.

My first example, because she’s been all over my newsfeed recently, is Stephanie McMahon. Her grandfather passed the business down to her father and now ultimately it’s being passed down to her. I’m not saying she hasn’t worked for her position because I know some of her history, where she started off working in the lower ranks and stuff modelling t-shirts as a child and working the lower rungs of the ladder. But this is still an experience most people wouldn’t get. Some days I simply dream of being backstage at a WWE event, let alone working at one with the intention of working my way up. She was also afforded WWE training (as all children of WWE superstars are), which is an experience I would have loved but my parents were never into it.

Now I’m not blaming her for where she is today. She wouldn’t have got where she is by just sitting back and letting daddy do all the work for her. But while people are desperately trying to build ladders made of twigs to higher platforms, her father have her a solid steel ladder and all she had to do was not fall off.

The Yogscast. I’ve mentioned these a couple of times before in previous articles but this is ultimately what nepotism is. The YOGS in Yogscast stands for Ye Old Goon Squad which was the name of a party in WOW (don’t ask the specifics, I’m not a WOW guy). You can often hear of them talking about how they used to do things together in WOW and so it’s no wonder they got the jobs as content creators. Lewis and Simon would have had the initial success but everybody else was allowed the opportunity that others don’t have. People don’t go into YouTube with a pre-set audience but being friends with Lewis and Simon allowed some of these people to begin a channel with a successful channel already willing to promote them and back their audience. It’s not the same as starting out with zero viewers and absolutely no successful channel endorsements.

Let’s stick with the topic of YouTubers and take a look at Shane Dawson. Now Shane Dawson is another self-made YouTuber in that he was there at the beginning and took advantage of the timing and opportunity given to him. But, can we say the same for the other people who have garnered a large following off of his back? But who are these people? Shanna Malcolm, Drew Monson, Ryland Adams, Bobby Burns and a number of other people. Now I’m not saying, once again, that these people don’t work for what they’ve got, but Shane Dawson featuring them in videos and promoting them gives them that ladder they need to get to the next level. They don’t need to do the difficult task of gaining viewers, simply keeping them and as long as they’re friends with Shane then that won’t be difficult. It is the equivalent of being allowed a billboard in Times Square just because of who you’re friends with. Not saying you didn’t work hard in making that billboard, but people wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t for your friend.

And finally, where would ASMR be without collaboration videos. The good ol’ “look at who I can get to feature in my videos” video. Most of the time this doesn’t improve sound quality, some people can do better on their own, but it’s shameless self-promotion using others to gain their audience. It’s not a bad thing, it’s how promoting your channel works, but it’s just that being friends with these people allows you the opportunity to create that channel with an already existing fanbase.

What I’m saying is that if I were friends with Shane Dawson, Simon and/or Lewis of the Yogscast or any ASMRtist with a significant audience then it wouldn’t be starting from square one for me. It would be like starting on square four or five from which it’s almost impossible to not garner the audience.

Oh and let’s not mention the added bonuses of better cameras, better microphones, better video editing software and editing techniques from professionals. All of these are things that square one starters don’t have. We have basic editing packages that we barely know how to use and basic cameras that we are learning with but we don’t get the view count for trying, we just get criticised that our cameras aren’t good enough or our video editing isn’t good enough.

I think this is one of the reasons I get uptight with YouTube a lot more than anything else, it’s that people complain and don’t realise the opportunities that they have been given, and it annoys me even more when these opportunities have been given through nepotism more than talent or interest.

This is also why I get uptight when people criticise me for asking for help. I’m asking for help to improve my situation, not just because I’m attention seeking (which some people have accused me of).

(As always, no offence is meant to anybody, I’m simply stating what I see from an outsiders point of view).

The Invisible Class

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Now, before we begin, I have to say that I don’t really know a lot about Chrissy Teigen (I’m sorry, female models aren’t exactly in my wheelhouse), but I do remember seeing her on a television show and thinking she was quite cool.

Also, I grew up on WWE and it was no secret that I wanted to be the Billion Dollar Princess and so my admiration for Stephanie McMahon goes far beyond anything I could write on a blog.

With that being said, I want everybody to keep in mind that nothing personal is meant towards either of these people. This, once again, is a blog post that explains how sometimes things can be taken badly and why they might be taken that way.

So, as you can see, Chrissy Teigen gets an official invitation to Wrestlemania 34 simply because she tweeted out about how she once attended a show and had to leave early. I’ve done my research and found out she didn’t really want to be there to start with (she spent weeks making fun of it) and then once her husband had performed he decided to leave and she had changed her mind at that point and didn’t want to leave. However, she did.

But this isn’t an issue with Chrissy’s actions at all. Whether she stayed or left the arena at Wrestlemania 24 (I believe it was), is completely irrelevant. This boils down to a class issue.

Let’s look at it this way. Chrissy Teigen is a well known female model, married to John Legend who has fame in his own right. They are both famous for their own things, not just for who they are married to, and so they both have their fortunes. They are considerably higher paid than the average family and have probably had their fair share of what most people would consider “once in a lifetime” things. (Simply going to America once was considered a “once in a lifetime event” for my family), Given this it’s unsurprising that people get their backs up when she’s getting official personal invitations to an event that she didn’t particularly want to be at originally. Contrast that with the hundreds of thousands of people who have admired wrestling for most of their lives, it’s something most people would kill to have. But, and now here’s the kicker for most people, why does she get it? Because she’s Chrissy Teigen. Her name has weight behind it, how much weight is irrelevant because it’s clearly more than Average Joe. Good publicity for the WWE too. But this is the rich benefiting from being rich. This is rich people helping each other out and hooking each other up with things.

I must concede that the WWE do a lot for charity. They have a Be A Star campaign, the Make A Wish moments that they do and Tributes To The Troops to name just a few. This I am not knocking, it’s a fair amount more than most companies do.

But, and here’s where my issue with things in life sit, what about the invisible upper-working class or the lower-middle class? This may seem absurd to a lot of people, in fact the only people who will probably understand this are those that fit into either of those categories because we know what it’s like to feel invisible.

WWE was my life for a very, very long time. Where I grew up it wasn’t socially acceptable to admit you liked it. Being British and liking Wrestling is sometimes viewed as a bit odd and I got bullied for liking it. And this didn’t stop when I went home. I had three older brothers who all thought Wrestling was a waste of time and my parents asked me pretty much everyday whether I had “grown out of it yet”. So I never got a reprise from the suggestion that wrestling was for children. And yet I pushed through.

But I was never an under-privileged kid, I always had food on the table and a roof over my head. Money was sometimes difficult but never “when will we eat again” difficult. I’ll happily admit that financially my family didn’t have it the worst. We didn’t have it the best either. We weren’t First Class passengers on planes and we had to look for cheap deals for holidays. Not awful but we couldn’t drop money like celebrities and we certainly weren’t jetting off to Wrestlemania anytime soon.

And so with my families disdain for WWE I was never going to go to a wrestling event. I still, to this day, have never been to one. My parents weren’t going to take me or even pay for me to go to one. (This is also the reason I don’t know a lot about British wrestling, I was barely allowed to watch RAW and Smackdown so they weren’t likely to take me to a local wrestling show).

But people like me apparently don’t have a right to complain. Why? Well, because our financial situation was good. Forget everything else in the world, if your financial situation is good then you’re viewed a certain way. It didn’t matter that even if my parents did have the money I wasn’t going to get to go. My parents wouldn’t even pay for Pay-Per-Views.

Now I don’t look down on those that benefit from the charity of the WWE. In fact I admire the charity work that the WWE does, it’s amazing and I love hearing the stories. But sometimes, and here’s where it gets a little bit bleak, I prayed to be in a position to receive it. Whether this meant, as a child, losing a limb or possibly being diagnosed with something terminal, for me they had benefits. Now I’ve spoken about this in my self-harm post but some days I don’t see the negatives of negative things and so my mind only sees the benefits of them. For me, on these days, my brain would only see that my chances of meeting WWE superstars were increased. It’s fairly difficult as a teenager not to self-mutilate when there only seems to be positives to doing it. But I have mental health problems, I’m not for one moment stating that’s the common mindset of everybody. All I can do is speak for myself.

And then, as you get older, you realise your chances dwindle with each passing year. The WWE do a lot of their work with children and so once you’re an adult you can basically kiss away your chances of meeting any of them. (Unless you join the US military but I’m British and the WWE doesn’t get involved with British military often, that I know of).

So I hope you can see how invisible we feel sometimes. Stuck in the middle with nobody really hearing our voices. We’re expected to be able to do stuff because we’re better off than some but we can’t do certain things because we’re not as well off as others. And then you see offers going to celebrities who, if they REALLY wanted to, could afford to go to every single Wrestlemania ever held. In fact the offers go to those in positions above and below you, but never to somebody like you. This is why it’s sometimes hard to stomach things like this, because I sometimes feel like I’m living in the invisible class and as much as I need help people won’t give it to me because they expect me to be able to help myself, even when I readily admit I can’t.

Lonely This Christmas

“Christmas has the ability to surround you with people, and still make you feel super alone.”

These aren’t actually my words but they’ve been ringing around in my head for the last thirteen hours, ever since Mr Meridian posted them on his Twitter.

I can’t talk much about Christmas growing up because I grew up in a house of Jehovah’s Witnesses and so we didn’t really have Christmas. We weren’t as strict as other households but we didn’t have all the decorations and the festivities and such, it was more just a time to be with family. So that was eight years of my life (between the ages of eight and sixteen) when, as a minor, I was forced to follow along with the religion of my parents choosing.

The funny thing is that I actually love Christmas. I love the excitement people get when they open presents I have bought them. I actually like shopping for presents and spending time to think what other people might like. Even if they don’t like it, I like to think I’ve put some effort into it. Some people say it’s the thought that counts but I feel it’s the effort, that you can really tell somebody has been thinking about you by the presents they get you. It’s a lot more than “here’s some socks and you should be thankful you got anything because it’s the thought that counts”.

Christmas is also a time when I get to play board games. I’ve not found anybody who can match me in a game of Monopoly (everybody usually gives up and I win by default) so we don’t get to play that, but I love all board games and so I just love the idea of turning the television off and playing them rather than sitting silently in a room staring at a box. It’s also the only time of year that my family really indulges me in this, all the other times they’re too busy or have other things to do. Only at Christmas do we sit down as a family and play them.

But, even with all this and the included festivities that my work puts on, I still feel a little bit empty around Christmas. This year has been particularly hard. I have three brothers, all older, who all have either moved or will be moving into new houses in the next month or two. Add onto this the fact that my brother’s are all in long-term relationships and two out of the three of them have children. Me? Where am I? Well, I’m in the same place I’ve always been. Single. Always and forever single.

This is a tough point most of the year but at Christmas it’s very much emphasised because you’re surrounded by people. Even when playing board games, I make the numbers uneven and the teams uneven because I’m single and so the choice is don’t play or remember that you’re single. And when it comes to going to bed, after all of the festivities and holiday stuff, I’m just going to go to my room on my own and feel inevitably single when I’m alone in my bed.

Now I’m not saying I dislike Christmas, I’m just saying I’d like somebody to spend it with. But then this isn’t just Christmas. I want somebody to spend every day with. I want somebody to talk to about things and somebody who actually wants to spend time with me, not because they’re related or we work together. I just want to feel wanted. But, as I’ve said, this isn’t only Christmas, Christmas is just a time when everything is magnified and you’re forced to take stock of where everybody is in their life in regards to relationships and family and it just emphasises the idea of being alone.

It’s even difficult after Christmas, as I found when returning to work. You get asked the question “did you have a good Christmas?” or “what did you do for Christmas?” and the fact of the matter is that for me it’s just another day of the year. It’s another day when I feel alone and want somebody but you can’t say that because you’re not allowed to be miserable at Christmas, you have to say “yeah, it was good”. It’s also a day where nothing else changes. I can’t say “Well, on Christmas day we went to visit my partner’s parents and then on boxing day we visited my parents” etc. It’s just “I woke up, opened some presents, played some games, went back to sleep”.

Oh and don’t even get me started on how vivid and romance based my dreams have been recently that make you wake up, realise it was a dream and feel bad about how you now have to go back to real life which isn’t anywhere near as nice.

There’s a few more factors to Christmas that I have a hard time with (people not putting  a lot of thought into presents and/or not wanting to do anything but watch television) but I won’t go into those because they make me sound ungrateful, plus the biggest hardship I  have is being alone.

But, as I found this year when I discovered Sarah Millican’s #JoinIn on Twitter. I’m alone but I feel my loneliness is superficial when compared to other people’s and so I feel bad for complaining about it when other people have it worse than I do.

Also Christmas finishing brings up some new problems for singletons like myself, mainly New Year. New Year’s Eve is a time when, at midnight, everybody celebrates the New Year and kisses are shared. Even for me and my group of friends who never really put much stock into the whole New Year tradition stuff, even at midnight we would stop what we were doing and they would all share kisses with their partners to celebrate the New Year. It’s little things like that, like being the only person with nobody, that make you wonder about the point of everything.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say

So this, as I’m finding a lot, is inspired by a video that Shane Dawson recently put out. Say what you want about that man but he knows how to inspire me to write. Anyway, if you haven’t already then you can check out the video here.

So the video is called Confronting My Hater. Without spoiling too much of the video (it’s quite well done and is one of the more intelligent vlogs on YouTube these days) Shane Dawson finds somebody who has criticised his videos and decides to do some research. The person in question is Bobby Burns, a fellow YouTuber, who has critiqued multiple videos. Now this is only part one of I don’t know how many, but the idea is quite sound. At the end of the video you find out that Shane invites Bobby to his house so they can meet face-to-face and talk about things. Bobby accepts the invitation.

But, and now don’t get me wrong because I do like the concept of the video, I’m not sure entirely how I feel.

It’s Bobby that I question in this post (Shane, you’re safe for now, but if you ever want a critique then I’ll be more than happy to write one for you). Basically because Bobby, in his video, comes across quite well informed and researched. His take on Shane’s videos do sometimes stray into personal but the rhetoric Bobby uses is very clever and definitely convinces you to think the same way as he does.

But I question this whole idea of criticism. When I was a child I was raised on the phrase “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That has all gone out of the window in the last few years, especially in the media circuit.

Shane addresses in his video that Bobby does what he does for views. And we can’t blame him for that. I’ve admitted I do what I do for views and attention, Shane has even admitted when he began that he done what he had to for views. It’s the worst kept secret to success really.

But I fear we put too much celebrity on controversial opinions. Bobby Burns gets invited to Shane Dawson’s house and collabs with him on videos just because he voiced a somewhat coherent critique in his videos. I say somewhat coherent because it’s not really backed up with evidence, a lot of it is just pure opinion and Bobby talks about manipulation as if he’s not doing the same thing in his videos. It’s clever, but it’s manipulation. It’s also only somewhat coherent because sometimes, as I’ve said, it strays into personal and that’s rarely constructive.

But this isn’t just Bobby Burns we’re talking about. Think of anybody and everybody who gets famous from criticising people without that criticism being constructive. Bobby Burns tells Shane Dawson to stop, what he should do is tell him what he thinks he should be doing to improve. That’s the difference between constructive and not. Give them something to build on, don’t just tear them down. But Bobby isn’t the only one; Milo Yiannopoulos, Katie Hopkins, Piers Morgan, Kanye West, Ann Coulter. All of these people could make a living based on their negativity and controversial tweets, quotes, words, etc. It’s a world where it’s easier to get noticed for doing something bad than for doing something good. Hell, even the current President of the United States Donald Trump got there because he ran a campaign of hate and controversy.

And so why do I talk about this? Perhaps because it’s an easy way to get famous but it’s at the expense of other people. It’s a culture that rewards the tearing down of others. We’re rewarding non-constructive criticism and then wondering why the world has low self-esteem. We’re giving platforms, views, tweets, videos, to people who can say whatever they damn well please and people are actually giving them the attention they need.

I’ve considered it many times and I honestly don’t know what stops me from doing it. When I readily admit that I do a lot of what I do for attention in the hopes that somebody might hear my cries for help and actually help, why don’t I take the easy road with controversy? Possibly because my need for attention conflicts with my desire to be liked and currently my desire to be liked wins out (although I’m scared of the day that ceases to be).

Also a part of me, as always, writes this out of jealousy. Bobby Burns strings together a somewhat convincing argument and gets invited to meet Shane Dawson while I’m still struggling to get noticed and help whilst being a nice person.

Also, the difference between what I do and what they do, I can actually admit that what I do is for people to notice me. If you proclaim you’re doing it for any other reason than to be controversial or to get attention then you’re wrong. You’re not constructive, you’re just attention seeking. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, just admit it to yourself.

Why I Do What I Do

So this whole Keaton Jones thing has had me thinking a lot recently. Mainly because it’s been an up and down roller-coaster of a journey with different things coming out each day. But I won’t comment too much on that anymore because we all know where I stand on bullying. All I want to say in regards to the issue is that if Kimberly Jones has created some elaborate hoax or scheme to get gifts and money then there’s a special place in hell for people like her.

But, and keeping with a similar theme, I want to lay my motivations on the table. Think of this as the end hand of Poker and for a long time you’ve been wondering why I’ve been making the moves I’ve been making and doing the things I’ve been doing. Now this is the moment I lay down my cards and tell you.

I do what I do in the hopes that somebody will give me an opportunity. In an earlier post, If Merle Would Sing My Song, I mention how easy it is for one person to change your life. And so I write and record in the hopes that somebody somewhere will want to help me change my life. I’ve reached a stage where I don’t know what to do anymore, I can’t do it on my own and I’m struggling, and so every time I write, publish and/or share, it’s more of a cry for help. I am drowning in the sea and I don’t know what to do anymore, do you call somebody selfish if they ask you to throw them a Lifebuoy to stop them drowning?

But, and here is where I think I differ from the alleged reasons of Kimberly Jones, I don’t want money. I don’t want 55k put into a GoFundMe account in my name. That’s not what I ask at all.

I ask for an opportunity. I ask for a celebrity to share my work because they have a larger following than I do. The doors that can open is huge. I ask for help improving my job opportunities; internships or work experience. I ask for practical life help.

Unashamedly I once wrote to Ellen Degeneres. I could have fabricated any sort of elaborate lie and gone along with it for attention and money and adoration. The fact is that I didn’t. I simply wrote and asked her to consider me for an internship or work experience because that was what I needed at the time and it would have boosted my career prospects monumentally.

I did the same when I tried to contact some YouTubers for interviews. I wanted to get some interview experience and so I got in contact with them. This wouldn’t have been easy for me, it could have meant long drives and stays in hotels, meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone, but it was something I was willing to do for the experience and because it meant so damn much to me. As we can guess I heard nothing back, but it didn’t stop me trying.

Why? Well because I truly believe I’ve done as much as I can do on my own. I haven’t made the connections most people make during their teenage years and University days. I don’t have friends in high places that I can call up for favours. It would be great if I could phone up a radio station and say “Hey, remember that time I did work experience for you? Got any work going?” But I can’t. The only work experience I have is two weeks working in a bank, a week working in a shipping company, a month working overseas in Canada (in a castle) and three years of retail.

You see when I was growing up everything was academic. I wasn’t sporty, I wasn’t social and so my way in life was through academics and education. It sucks that we’ve reached a point in life where education barely gets you anywhere anymore and it’s considerably more in favour of practical experience, something that my mental health has prevented me from getting a lot of the time.

This is why viral videos actually hurt me so much and cause me anguish. It is other people getting opportunities that I am trying so hard for. I don’t want to be viral, I just want the opportunity. I saw Calum McSwiggan doing a radio show or interview the other day and I got jealous because he’s been given an opportunity that I wish I had. Why? Did he study journalism to a University degree level? I don’t know but his videos have helped garner him the connections and experience he needs to do what he wants.

And so, now I’m being a bit more clear about things, this is my way of asking for help.

It Gets Better?

“Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year?”

So these words were tweeted by Captain America himself, Chris Evans. A great gesture from a character whose sole purpose in creation was to help boost morale with the suggestion that anything is possible. Captain America itself is about a bullied and unfairly treated youth who gets genetically experimented on with the results being that he comes out buff, chiselled and awesome. The origin story itself is the embodiment of the phrase “It Gets Better”.

I get that we have to be supportive and understanding. These are kids we are dealing with, the people that are told they are “too young to be depressed” because they haven’t reached that stagnant point in their life yet. As a child or teenager your everyday should be filled with possibilities and the future should be unknown to anyone and everyone. You haven’t reached your full potential, you’re still growing and you’re still coming to terms with everything. Both biologically and socially you still haven’t reached a stable point in your life and so there is forever the idea that it gets better. Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with telling this mantra to children because in a sense it’s true.

There is something bleak about life after your teenage years. This is because your transitional period stops. You are expected to get a job, to find a partner, to settle down, to have a family or to focus on your career. The whole idea of being an adult and living is rooted in the idea of stability, you need a stable job and life in order to earn the money to live. The first question people ask you when they meet you is “so, what do you do?” because everybody is supposed to be at least partially on their way to this long-term ambition.

The part I take exception with in the mantra “It Gets Better” is that it doesn’t address those of us for whom it didn’t get better. It doesn’t account for those us in a dead-end job with no future or career prospects who struggle to leave the house when they relive bullying from years ago in their minds every single day. It doesn’t understand that as a child you are encouraged to be your best and reach your pinnacle but as you grow up you’re expected to settle more and more with each passing year.

My job wasn’t supposed to be long-term. It was supposed to get me away from the job centre whilst also giving me time to focus on writing. As it happens I am coming up for three years at the job with a future that doesn’t seem to change. Why? It can get better, get another job. As a teenager I would have no problems with leaving the job in hopes of a better one, as an adult I know the realism. I know that I’ve spent three years unemployed before this job and who knows how long I’ll spend after it. I know I’m pushing thirty and still living with my parents with absolutely no financial future of moving out. In this instance it doesn’t get better. It either stays the same or it gets worse.

I also know I’m crippled mentally from school. The bullying I experienced didn’t go the way that they tell you in the story. Bullies are alone in dead-end jobs with dull and miserable lives while you skyrocket and become yourself to the fullest potential, surrounded by the best people life can give you. That’s not how it worked. That’s not how it works for ninety-nine percent of the people who experience bullying either. Instead I can’t form a relationship because I’m so paranoid about the way the other person perceives and treats me that it leaves me barely able to leave the house while one of my bullies just has to take his shirt off to make friends.

So what is in store for people like myself? For those that are old enough to understand how life works and know that life doesn’t always get better? Those of us that are realistic enough to know that the good-guy doesn’t always win and the bad-guy doesn’t always lose. Those of us for whom bullying has forced us into a corner and we’re being held there by societies expectations and the threat of joblessness, homelessness, bankruptcy, or a future forever alone. What pearl of wisdom do we get that encourages us to put down the knife or the bottle of pills and actually continue on with life?